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Showing posts from 2015

American Sniper | Chris Kyle

“Great way to fight a war - be prepared to defend yourself for winning.” 
Genre: Autobiography/War. Number of Pages: 528. Perspective: Alternating First. Location: Texas and Iraq.
American Sniper is the story of the Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his many deployments during the War on Terror. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This is not my kind of book. I am ignorant about the military and the inner workings of war. Long action and fight sequences are boring to me -- but I have to give this book the credit it deserves. It is extremely well written and a compelling story. I actually saw this movie earlier this year, and it was one of the few war movies that I really enjoyed. My husband and I listened to this book together on a road trip for the holidays and he loved this book. He appreciated all the details in this book and was completely enthralled. I spaced out a few times [ehem—fell asleep a few times], but I still listened to enough of the story to understand the basics. It’s very lon…

Never Never #1 | Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

“I want to tell him that what he did was nice, but nice is such a silly word for kindness. Anyone could pretend to be nice. What Silas did was innate. Boldfaced kindness.” 
Genre: Young Adult Romance. Number of Pages: 159. Perspective: Alternating First. Location: New Orleans.
Never Never follows Silas and Charlie, a teenage couple that wake up one day and can’t remember anything about their lives. As they put together the pieces they start to realize that maybe they were hiding a lot of horrible secrets, and it's better to forget. For a complete summary, you can go here.
Well, I wanted quick read, and I definitely got that. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I usually HATE series. Especially with big cliffhangers. I don’t want to have to be committed to 3+ books to get a complete story. But typically after each book in a series, you feel some sort of resolution, even though there is a larger story that continues through all of the books. Nope, not this time. This was a re…

Orange is the New Black | Piper Kerman

“I knew that I would have to be brave. Not foolhardy, not in love with risk and danger, not making ridiculous exhibitions of myself to prove that I wasn't terrified--really genuinely brave.”
Genre: Memoir/Crime Number of Pages: 298. Perspective: First. Location: Federal Correctional Institution, Danbury, Connecticut.
Orange is the New Black follows Piper in her 15 months in a low-security women’s prison for a drug crime committed 10 years prior. For a complete summary, you can go here.
Full disclosure, I didn’t actually read this book, I listened to the audiobook. I’m not an auditory learner, so listening to a book is tricky for me, therefore I have to stick to books I am familiar with or nonfiction books [that way I don’t miss an important scene if I zone out for a minute]. I was shocked when I learned that this book was only 298 pages. The audiobook felt SO long. I get that it’s probably a challenging job to be an audiobook reader, but the accents of the inmates were HORRENDOUS and t…

From Idea to Published Book

This is a guest post by Brian Laslow.
So, you have a great idea for a book. Maybe you think it’s such a great idea that you’ll just write it, spend a little money to get it self-published, and people are sure to buy it. That was me a year or so ago, talk about na├»ve. I learned what really had to be done to properly publish a book as I went along and got lucky by connecting with an editor that wasn’t afraid to tell me the truth. Hopefully, this little bit of what I learned will help others bring their great idea to fruition.  
One of the first things I learned was to just write it and worry about it being perfect later. This is actually advice that I’ve read a few times recently, but I figured it out with my wife’s help early on in the process. If you wait until every word is perfect, you’ll never actually finish writing the book. That’s not to say someone shouldn’t read it along the way to make sure your idea is actually something that others also think is great. In my case, I also ne…

Why Russia is Still a Good Source for Thriller Writers

This is a guest post by George Eccles.
The end of the Cold War seemed to throw many thriller writers into a state of panic. For forty years they found a perfect setting for stories of espionage and treachery, not to mention world domination, nuclear holocausts and even the end of the world. Suddenly, with glasnost and perestroika, the Soviet Union disintegrated and Russia ceased to be 'the enemy'. Thriller writers searched around for an alternative background for their plots: some ventured into the world of drug wars and cartels; others explored the possibilities of the Middle East; others delved into terrorism on their own doorstep. Only a few ventured back into Russia.
A key problem was that, while Russia remained closed to the West, it was easy enough to base a novel there because no one was in any position to judge the validity of the scene settings or the operations of the KGB (as it was in those days) or even the way of life. With the opening up of the country, suddenly t…

Sweet Dreams | Joan Monk Potter

Genre:  Romance. Number of Pages: 322. Perspective: Alternating. Location: St. Louis, MO.
Sweet Dreams follows the romance of two coworkers, a nurse and a nurse anesthetist. Their budding romance is complicated by past baggage, two trouble-some teens, a death trial, and two very large dogs. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This is not your typical hot romance novel…it is more real. Painfully real. The main love interests are dysfunctional at best. Grace is missing a breast (due to breast cancer) and Dakota suffers from ED. I guess not all romances can be perfect…perhaps this will make some people feel better about their own relationships. It can help people see that not everything is perfect as most romance novels make things seem. 
My main issue with this book is that it was advertised as “fun” and “humorous”. Even some of the reviews say that. I did not think that anything in this book was either of those things. The main characters dealt with crisis after crisis and they fought…

Q & A with Author Heather Vogel Frederick

Hi Heather, thanks for joining me! I know you have been super busy! What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My ambitions are simple: I hope I’m writing (and publishing) stories for many years to come. And I hope readers continue to love my stories. What more could a writer wish for?
Which writers inspire you?
Good ones!  I have old favorites I return to again and again for inspiration — E. B. White and Jane Austen are both touchstones for me — as well as new writers I come across (Jacqueline Winspear!), and my writer friends. If you haven’t read Susan Hill Long’s Whistle in the Dark, what are you waiting for?
Oh, I will add those to my To-Read list now! Give us an insight into how you create your main characters.
My main characters usually start with the barest glimmer. Sometimes it’s a name, sometimes it’s just a vague outline  — Emma Hawthorne in The Mother-Daughter Book Club, for instance, started out life as nothing more then “the librarian’s daughter.” Sometimes I have a f…

Mistakes are Proof That You Are Trying: Coloring Book | Samantha Snyder

Genre: Adult Coloring Book  Number of Pages: 104
This coloring book is a part of a series of coloring books from the Doodle Art Alley Books. Each book has an inspirational theme with doodles to color in and quotes. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This is actually my first experience coloring an “adult” coloring book. My background is education, so I actually have done a lot of coloring in my adult life, but with children’s coloring books. Coloring is actually very calming. 
I appreciated the quotes, especially since a lot of the quotes in this book were related to education. And the drawings were really cute. But they were pretty simple. It would be good for people who want to finish a whole page in about 20 minutes, but it is not as complex as a lot of the other coloring books on the market — such as all the mandala ones. I don't like coloring in huge chunks of the page with just one color. I wish it was a little more complex, but I do really like the book. I would say mid…

Best Book of 2015!

Throughout the year, I have been awarding books with my Best Book Award if they receive a five-star rating from me. In order to receive a five-star rating, they need to be an incredible book that leaves me with nothing bad to say. I have read many outstanding books this year, but a few have stuck in my head and really made a lasting impression. It was hard to pick my favorite book of the year, but here is the winner and a few that almost made the cut. Please comment with your favorite book of 2015! 
Best Book of 2015: 
I’ll Meet You There | Heather Demetrios 
“And maybe some people are like collages - no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.”

I’ll Meet You There is a coming-of-age story featuring the perspectives of two teens trying to get out of their rundown small town: Skylar and Josh. Skylar is a seventeen-year-old with a full scholarship to an art school starting in the fall. She yearns to leave the town that holds her back, bu…